What's for dinner?

Here are the basics to help you get started with meal prep and planning.

Megan Miller

Whether you cook for just yourself, for you and your spouse, or for a whole slew of family members, there is one question that we can all dread from time to time: “What’s for dinner?” My goal with this blog is to give you simple, actionable items to take to make meal prepping and planning easier.  

Simplify your plan

Make it a priority

Schedule your meal prep (AKA preparing meals ahead of time, often in bulk) for a certain time in your week. Put it on your calendar just like you would do with a doctor appointment or work meeting. If you prefer to make new meals each day, this same concept can be used by setting aside time to go grocery shopping for the ingredients needed for the upcoming week, as well as time in your days to cook each meal. Blocking off time for preparation is the key to setting yourself up for success.

Plan your days ahead of time

Whether you pre-make your meals (meal prep) or create a calendar of what you will have for the week (meal plan), it all comes down to being prepared. This does not mean your days will be void of change, but it means that there will be less room for error or scrambling to find something to eat. When you’re prepared for the week, you’ll be far less likely to reach for an unhealthy snack to satisfy your hunger, and far more likely to eat the nutritious meals you’d planned out for yourself.

Create a shopping list

Your grocery list will likely be a combination of items needed for recipes you plan to cook that week, as well as essential items like eggs, yogurt, and fruit. Whether you prefer to follow recipes or you’re more of a freestyler in the kitchen, having the right ingredients on hand is important for ensuring you’re able to stick to your plan.

Keep it simple

You don’t have to make a gourmet meal for every meal in your day (or any of your meals, for that matter). Plan for some meals and snacks in your week that you enjoy and are quick to make. If you’re someone who’s always on the go, make sure to also include some items that are “grab-and-go”, which means they can be eaten quickly, without much prep time, and possibly even with one hand. Ideas of “grab-and-go” items are homemade protein bars, hard boiled eggs, overnight oats, and freezer breakfast sandwiches or breakfast burritos. I also recommend trying to keep your fridge and pantry stocked with essential, easy items. Some of the items we always have on hand in our kitchen are:

A. Protein: Deli meat, tuna, jerky, protein bars, protein powder

B. Fruit/Veggie: We always have frozen fruits and veggies in our freezer, and replenish our fresh produce as we eat it

C. Carbs/Fats: Breads, oats, nuts, nut butters

Building a meal 101

A common theme in my nutrition philosophy is keeping things simple. You can build a nutritious and delicious meal in just three easy steps. Here’s the basics of how to build a well-rounded plate for any meal of the day:

  • Choose a protein source

  • Pick a fruit or veggie

  • Add a carb/fat (depending on what you prefer) 

Then add in seasonings, spices, or sauces for flavor. It’s that simple!

To help you get started, click here for my printable weekly menu and grocery planner.

Nutrition and fitness go hand in hand in reaching your health goals, which is why we are proud to offer both services at our facility. Click here to get started with Rise today.